Does Coffee Kill Probiotics? (A Must Read)

Yes, coffee can kill probiotics if consumed directly after taking probiotics. Bacteria are heat sensitive, so drinking a hot cup of coffee while taking probiotics is not a wise idea.

Coffee is not a good drink for people who have IBS or heartburn since it’s acidic and affects the stomach by triggering the flow of gastric juices.

Also, it contains caffeine that may stimulate your gastrointestinal tract, triggering abdominal cramping. This may further lead to irritation in your stomach lining.

Drinking coffee immediately after taking probiotics defeats the purpose of taking probiotics.

Does this mean you need to give up coffee because it kills your probiotics or is there a good timing when to drink coffee and probiotics? Well, let’s find out on this post.

How long should I wait to take probiotics after drinking coffee?

Scrabble tiles spelling out Probiotic on top of a wooden table.

Probiotics can be taken after 1-2 hours from drinking coffee. They also work best when taken on an empty stomach.

By taking probiotics on an empty stomach, good bacteria get to your gut faster and without any interruption from food or any acidic drinks like coffee.

Therefore, the best time to have your probiotics is either on an empty stomach in the morning or before going to bed at night.

That means you can take your probiotics before brewing your morning cup of coffee. However, it is best to wait at least an hour after taking them before sipping on your cup of coffee.

Can I take probiotics with hot drinks?

It’s not advisable to take probiotics with a hot beverage. Avoid taking your supplements with other hot liquids or food, not just coffee.

This is because the good bacteria in probiotics are destroyed by heat. If you’re one of those who are alright with drinking cold coffee or room temperature coffee, then you can drink coffee with probiotics.

Those who enjoy drinking tea may need to be more cautious. Tea includes tannins, which bind to minerals such as iron and zinc, decreasing their absorption in the body. Coffee, like tea, contains tannins, though in smaller amounts.

Having said that, whether it’s tea or coffee, taking probiotics 30 to 60 minutes before drinking any hot beverage is the best approach.

How does coffee affect probiotics?

A white cup of espresso.

In general, coffee doesn’t affect probiotic bacteria, but hot coffee can kill probiotics if drank immediately after taking probiotics.

This is where most people get confused: it’s not coffee or caffeine that can impede probiotic activity, but rather any hot beverage, including hot water.

The good news is I have found a fantastic piece of information about a probiotic coffee containing around 1 billion units of probiotics! So for coffee drinkers who use probiotic supplements, this product will definitely benefit you.

Probiotic bacteria eliminate harmful bacteria by lining the gut. This can boost your overall health.

Coffee is known to trigger stomach acid. If left unchecked, too much of this can be harmful. Too much coffee can result in:

  • Catabolic muscle breaks down
  • Nervous system stress
  • High cortisol levels
  • Insulin resistance
  • Adrenal gland burnout

A recommended healthy dosage of coffee should not exceed 3-4 cups a day or 400 mg daily.

Watch the video below to discover more about how coffee can harm your good gut bacteria.

Let’s look at this table to see what’s right and wrong when taking probiotics.

Check ListIs it ok or NOT ok
Taking probiotics with cold coffee or waterOk ( Wait at least 30 minutes to take any hot beverage)
Mix your probiotics capsule or sachet into your hot cup of coffee or tea.Not ok
Take probiotics with a hot drink: coffee or tea.Ok, but not recommended.
Take probiotics with cold coffee or water between sipping on your cup of coffee (room temperature).Ok
Take probiotics with, after, or cold drinks, and then wait for an hour to enjoy your coffee.Perfect!

Food that interferes with probiotics

Carbonated Drinks

A top view of canned sodas.

Sugars or artificial sweeteners in carbonated beverages like aspartame and sucralose can affect or even kill the healthy bacteria in your gut. These sugar substitutes have harmful side effects on your health, like obesity, increased cancer, and diabetes risk.

Choosing diet soda over the regular variety may fool you with the promise of weight loss. However, this is not the case because excellent gut health is linked to a healthy weight. That means if you harm the good bacteria in your gut, that would mean undesirable weight gain.

Sugars from carbonated drinks also serve as energy sources for the harmful bacteria in your gut, helping them thrive and overpower the good bacteria.

Processed Foods

They’re packed with unhealthy additives and preservatives. Processed foods include cakes, chips, pretzels, cookies, crackers, and so on.

These additives harm the healthy bacteria in your gut and cause an imbalance between the good and the harmful bacteria in your digestive system.

GMO Products

GMOs interfere with the effect of probiotics in several ways. First, the herbicides used to grow this genetically modified food are harmful to your gut health.

Second, when you ingest GMO foods, genetic alterations in plants may affect the function of the microorganisms in your digestive tract.

Red Meat (Too Much)

Eating too much red meat not only interferes with probiotics but it’s also bad for your heart. Choline in red meat can cause a type of gut bacteria to multiply, damaging your gut and overall health.

These bacteria can cause your arteries to harden, leading to heart problems. If you eat a lot of meat, your gut bacterial makeup may already have more harmful bacteria than healthy bacteria.

So, taking probiotics while eating red meat doesn’t go well.

Gluten-Rich Foods

While gluten may have different effects on different people, research shows that eating many gluten-rich meals is not suitable for your gut health in the long run. It has the potential to cause inflammation and stomach pain.

So, eliminating or lowering gluten from your diet will ensure that the probiotics you are taking work.

Refined Oils

Highly refined vegetable oils like canola, corn, soybean, sunflower, and safflower cause inflammation in the gut. They contain many pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids and none of the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.

These oils damage the lining of your intestine and harm your gut health, deterring the job of the probiotics. 

Final Thoughts

Coffee is not harmful to the gut, but rather, it can aid in maintaining a healthy gut system by producing just enough stomach acid, which aids in the digestion of food. But this is not so if you have IBS or heartburn.

Furthermore, coffee is also known to improve the diversity of microbiome in your gut flora, which benefits your digestive system as a whole.

Probiotics also do the same thing – good bacteria that help keep your body healthy by fighting off too many harmful bacteria and absorbing nutrients better.

But drinking hot coffee or any hot liquid and probiotics will kill the good bacteria since probiotics are sensitive to heat. It’s best to drink hot coffee an hour or two after drinking probiotics not to cancel out its positive effects.

Both coffee and probiotics are beneficial to the body as long as they are taken in moderation and know the right timing when to drink them.

Marty Spargo

Caffeine aficionado and coffee student (if there's such a thing!). I've come to love coffee in recent years and share what I learn along the way on this website.

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